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Greitens' filing contends ex-mistress may have seen phone in 'dream'

Gov. Eric Greitens' defense team outside the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis following a hearing. March 26, 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Gov. Eric Greitens' defense team outside the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis following a hearing.

Updated at 10 p.m., with comments from Greitens' former mistress' attorney.

A filing from Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ legal team is contending that the woman at the center of his invasion of privacy case may have seen a cell phone as part of a “dream.”

Greitens’ attorneys’ latest filing is getting fierce pushback from the lawyer for his former mistress, who said in a sharply worded statement that the governor's legal team was mischaracterizing her deposition testimony. It's the first time the woman has publicly accused Greitens of taking a photograph without her consent. 

Greitens was indicted in February on felony invasion of privacy charges. The latest filing from Greitens' legal team contends that “recent deposition testimony has confirmed that information that supports [Greitens’] innocence has been withheld from him — as well as from the grand jury and the House Committee reviewing this matter.”

“Of note, the sworn testimony established that [the woman] never saw a photograph, has no evidence of transmission of any image, and that any assertion by [the woman] that she saw a phone on the day in question was based on a dream or vision,” the filing states.

That line is a reference to a quote mentioned later on in the filing where an assistant circuit attorney asked “did you see what you believed to be a phone.” The woman, according to the filing, answered: “... I haven’t talked about it because I don’t know if it’s because I’m remembering it through a dream or I — I’m not sure, but yes, I feel like I saw it after that happened, but I haven’t spoken about it because of that.”

The filing, among other things, goes onto say that “she never viewed anything that happened as a criminal matter, agreeing that the ‘last thing on [her] mind’ even in January of 2018 was potential criminal prosecution.’” It also contends the “loss or destruction” of videotape testimony of an investigator’s interview with the woman “bears scrutiny.”

“Given the passage of time and inconsistencies between what [the woman] says on different occasions, it is essential that the defendants have copies of all prior statement of the witness,” the filing states.

"Navy SEALS have a code"

Scott Simpson, an attorney for Greitens' former mistress, sent a statement on Monday night that said "it is time for Gov. Greitens to take responsibility for his actions as well as the actions of his team which is made up of the best lawyers other people's money can buy."

"Gov. Greitens has admitted to my client, on multiple occasions, that he took her photograph, without her consent, and threatened to release it if she ever told anyone about their relationship," Simpson said. "Instead of taking responsibility for his action, Gov. Greitens has decided to let his team attack my client by mischaracterizing her deposition testimony."

Greitens has repeatedly denied blackmailing his former mistress. 

Simpson went onto say that in an "effort to preserve her privacy and the privacy of her children, my client has refused to comment on this case and her silence has allowed a number of false and misleading statements to go unanswered." That's a reference to how the woman Simpson represents hasn't publicly addressed the allegations in St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's indictment — or details in a KMOV story revealing the affair from 2015.

"However the most recent attack on my client's credibility cannot be ignored; it is time to set the record straight," Simpson said. "We will support a motion to release the complete transcript of my client's deposition, so long as her name and other identify information is redacted. Gov. Greitens needs to take responsibility for his actions and be honest about the fact that he took my client's photograph without her consent."

‘An effort to deflect’

In response to the filing, a statement attributed to Gardner’s office said “the approach of the defense team has been consistent throughout this matter. They are working hard to try this case in the media by attacking the credibility of the victim and the investigation.” 

Supporters greet Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner after the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 6, 2017.
Credit File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Supporters greet Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner after the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 6, 2017.

“In this situation, the defense team has cherry-picked bits and pieces of the victim’s nine-hour deposition to attack her credibility. There is nothing substantially new about the victim’s testimony in the deposition, including the fact that the video camera had malfunctioned. The prosecution has complied with all discovery rules and will continue to do so as required by law,” the statement said.

“Week after week, the defense team continues to waste the court’s time with their frivolous motions. It’s clear with these motions, and the hiring of a public relations firm that sends out press releases and court filings to select media, that they are playing political games.

“This week’s games are an effort to deflect public attention from other matters facing the governor,” the statement added.

“Other matters” is likely a reference to a House committee’s pending report on Greitens. Committee member Gina Mitten, D-Richmond Heights, said Monday that a partial report would be released Wednesday but the committee would extend its investigation until May 18, which is the last day of the legislative session. The committee could recommend Greitens’ impeachment.

In the run up to the report’s release, Greitens’ campaign committee ran radio ads stating that “liberals” are “hell-bent” on stopping his agenda. And Greitens’ allies have also attacked Gardner’s credibility and competence, a strategy that’s upset some black elected officials across the state.

Greitens’ invasion of privacy trial is scheduled to begin on May 14.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.